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Scrooge with snowball beard - Scrooge: A Christmas Carol


In Theaters


Home Release Date




Kennedy Unthank

Movie Review

Bah, humbug!

Isn’t Christmas just awful? Having to gather with family and friends. Giving presents to one another. Rejoicing in God’s grace, mercy and blessings? Bleh.

Wait, you like those things? Well, bleh to you, too! At least, that’s Ebenezer Scrooge’s whole thought process on the matter.

“Christmas is a humbug,” he says, looking quite upset that it’s one bug he can’t squash. “I despise it and all it stands for.”

Scrooge would much rather spread Christmas fear than cheer. And the money lender likewise shows little mercy to anyone who owes him a pound or a pence.

But like it or not, Scrooge is about to get his own Christmas present: his deceased business partner, Jacob Marley, visits him, gripped by chains he claims are of his own greedy and grubby making. And Scrooge is quickly bound to join him in the same horrific fate, Jacob claims, unless the ruthless miser can change his selfish ways.

And fortunately for old Scrooge, Jacob’s sent three ghostly beings to help guide him towards such change.

Positive Elements

As most of us are likely aware, Ebenezer Scrooge wasn’t always such a, well, scrooge. Even his transformation from hopeful youth to crabby elder began with good intentions: He wanted to build a firm financial foundation to support himself and his fiancée for when they got married. But those intentions eventually became an obsession—leaving him searching for security that would never be found in money.

And while Scrooge’s general mistreatment of those around him is certainly cruel, others don’t allow his sour mood to ruin their Christmas. In fact, they’re rejoicing in what they have been blessed with—even if it’s a little bit less than anticipated thanks to Scrooge’s meddling. They rejoice with their friends and family, not because of the material possessions they have, but because they have one another.

And ultimately, Scrooge’s story speaks to a different, more important truth. As Plugged In’s Paul Asay wrote in a recent blog post on the Charles Dickens story:

“We’ve seen A Christmas Carol more times than any of us can count. But its message is timeless. And it’s one that perhaps we can, and should, be reminded of: We’re all sinners. We can all change. And thanks to the miracle of Christmas, it’s never, ever too late.”

Spiritual Elements

Of course, the Christmas Carol story comes with its three ghostly visitors: Christmas Past, Present and Yet to Come. These ghosts have been sent, they tell us, at the request of Scrooge’s deceased partner, Jacob Marley; we see Jacob’s ghostly apparition, too. They’re here to take Scrooge through a montage of his life’s important and to help him see how he has affected and will affect those around him. It’s all in an effort to get him to change his Bah, Humbug! ways before his deeds drag him down into the abyss for good.

We also see mystical, fairy-like creatures called Cheerlings and Fearlings, both of which look about how you might expect (the latter looking a bit demonic). Christmas Yet to Come, in particular, takes the form of the Grim Reaper. And Christmas Present reminds us that Scrooge isn’t alone in his sins: “The sins of man are huge,” he says “a never-ending symphony of villainy and infamy.”

We hear multiple instances of people saying, “God bless you and us.” Someone else says that life has been made “a living hell.” A man says to a priest regarding Scrooge’s future death, “You reap what you sow. Is that not what your Good Book says?” In a song, Scrooge desires the story to end “on a strong ‘amen’.”

Sexual Content

A man and a woman kiss. We also see two Cheerlings kiss.

Violent Content

We’re told that Scrooge’s sister died in labor on Christmas; his business partner also died on another Christmas. Christmas Past slaps Scrooge. Scrooge is electrocuted at one point, and some other slapstick-style violence occurs, too.

Crude or Profane Language

A girl calls Scrooge a “ratbag.” God’s name is misused once (in the form of “ye gods!”)

Drug and Alcohol Content

Christmas Present sings about enjoying wine, and we see him bathing in a pool of it. Adults at a Christmas party toast with wine.

Other Negative Elements

Scrooge and his dog fall through a portal; the dog lands on his face and passes gas on him. People cheer and sing at the death of Scrooge. Christmas Present sings a song about enjoying life, but its hyperbolic language rises to a level of advocating for hedonism. A character burps. And, as expected, Scrooge treats people quite poorly.


Yes, once again it’s the story of Ebenezer Scrooge and the sleepless night that softened his heart.

Scrooge: A Christmas Carol is an animated remake of Ronald Neame’s 1970 Scrooge, and viewers of that 52-year-old film will recognize many of the revamped songs in this modern musical counterpart.

Most of us have likely seen at least one iteration or another of Charles Dickens’s classic tale. And this version of Scrooge’s story remains true to its roots. But the release of the film does give us a timely reason to, once again, appreciate the meaning behind the film.

The Ghost of Christmas Present, in song, tells Scrooge that there’s “no one worse than you, Mr. Ebenezer Scrooge.” And you might think that this ghost is being a bit hyperbolic, but that accusatory sentiment brings with it a bigger message.

As we all know—and, spoiler warning for those who haven’t gotten around to enjoying this story in the century and a half it’s been out—Scrooge eventually does change, embracing people around him with a humble and servant heart. And if the apparent worst person among us all can be changed, then how much easier might it be for the rest of?

There’s a biblical tie here, too. As Paul grappled with his sinful past, he claimed that though he thought himself to be the worst of all sinners, Christ still saved him:

“The grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display His perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in Him for eternal life” (1 Tim. 1:14-16).

Netflix’s Scrooge: A Christmas Carol may not preach an overt gospel message to its viewers. But the message of redemption that emanates from it can give us all reason to be merry for the salvation we’re offered.

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Kennedy Unthank

Kennedy Unthank studied journalism at the University of Missouri. He knew he wanted to write for a living when he won a contest for “best fantasy story” while in the 4th grade. What he didn’t know at the time, however, was that he was the only person to submit a story. Regardless, the seed was planted. Kennedy collects and plays board games in his free time, and he loves to talk about biblical apologetics. He thinks the ending of Lost “wasn’t that bad.”